In this guitar lesson we are going to be learning about the alternate tuning called DADGAD. The word sounds a bit funny but it is really cool because the name of the tuning corresponds to the names of the notes that the strings are tuned to. This makes it a bit easier to remember the tuning of each individual string. First we will walk you through tuning your guitar to DADGAD and then we will show you how to play a 1, 4, 5 chord progression in the key of D using the DADGAD tuning.
Start out by tuning your low E string down a whole step to a D. The A, D, and G strings stay the same as they would in standard tuning. Move on to the B string and tune that note down one whole step to an A note. Finish off the tuning by lowering your high E string one whole step down to a D note. Now strum all six strings open. DADGAD tuning gives a very open and almost droning kind of sound. You can hear this tuning a lot in Celtic and different folk types of music.
Now that your guitar is tuned to DADGAD let’s learn the 1, 4, and 5 chords for the key of D. This is really easy because you only have to use 1 finger to play all of these chords. Put your 2nd finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd string and strum all six strings. This is your D or 1 chord. To play the G, or 4 chord, just put your 2nd finger on the 2nd fret of the 5th string and strum all six strings. The five chord in the key of D major is an A major chord. To play an A just put your 2nd finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th string and play all six strings. Now you know how to play the 1, 4, and 5 chords in the key of D using DADGAD tuning.
If you want to give some of the songs that you already know more of a Celtic feel just put your guitar in DADGAD and use these simple chords that you have learned. A great example of a simple song that can be played in DADGAD is “Amazing Grace”. You can simplify the chord progression of the song and just use the 1, 4, and 5 chords. Take some simple songs that you like and try to play them using the DADGAD tuning.
If you like the sound of DADGAD, then check out some recordings by Beppe Gambetta or Phil Keaggy. These guys are amazing acoustic guitar players and they use the DADGAD tuning, along with a ton of other alternate tunings, in their music quite often.
Learn how to tune your guitar to itself, and how to tune a guitar using a tuner here! Also, experiment with drop D tuning, and open G tuning!